Saturday, February 17, 2007

Le sigh: Return of the Otakukin

Remember this post from back at DF2.0?
I just came across this Livejournal entry, and I'm actually kind of disturbed by it. It's no secret about my loathing of furries, but I've learned that there's not one, but two other subcultures out there that make furries look normal by comparison.

(Fursuiters... don't ask, it will hurt your brain.)

First up are the Otherkin

These folks don't believe that they're anthropormophized animals, nope. These folks believe that they're anthropormorphized mythical creatures. We're talking dragons, pixies, and werecreatures of all manner. Now, if the detachment issues of the furries were bad enough, I can only imagine how bad the Otherkin are.

But wait, it gets better... or rather, weirder...

At this point, I'll introduce the Otakin. These are people who believe that they're, and I'm a little fuzzy on this, either the incarnation or reincarnation of Japanese anime characters, who may or may not be anthropormorphized animals or mythical creatures.

No, I'm not making this up.

There are really people out there who believe that the spirit of Genma Saotome rests in their soul.

(Genma Saotome, human & panda form.
from Ranma 1/2.)
No, really.

Seriously, I wish I was making this up. We all have our share of delusions, but man... I'm nearly speechless. Not speechless enough to not laugh and point, but seriously, can we stop accepting serious mental health issues as being normal in geek culture?

That said, according to this, Asperger's may actually be the issue at hand, but isn't it always when it comes to the dregs of geekdom?

At the very least this makes me happy, as it shows that once again I am normal. Potentially less normal than other normal people, but still well within the realm of normal.

Can I get a Hallelujah?

Oh, and pass the Pocky.
Well here's Anime News Network's Zac Bertschy, aka Answerman, on the same subject (I've fixed some of his formatting/typo issues):
For the last 2 weeks you've been getting mail from that kid who thinks he's Naruto or can use ninja chakra powers, and while I thought it was fake at first, i realized that this is the internet and people like that probably do exist. So here's my question: are there people out there who sincerely think they can use anime characters' powers in real life? Are they just kids playing pretend or what?

I knew this question would come one day and somehow I knew that flake would spurn it. I dread answering this. I don't even like knowing the answer to this.

The short answer to your question is "yes". The long answer is terrifying if you haven't heard of these people before.

Thanks to the internet, delusional people now have a haven where they can all get together and tell each other that they aren't delusional. This bolsters their delusions and makes them self-righteous and in many cases, highly pretentious about their ridiculous "beliefs". Some kid can be "practicing" his fake "martial arts" outside after watching too much Naruto, pretend that he surprised himself by doing something "magical" like shooting ninja lightning out of his ass or something, and then go online and report it to his friends and SOMEONE else will undoubtedly hop on the attention monger train and say "Wow that same thing happened to me too!". Then it all turns into this big wank-fest where they make up stuff and agree with eachother and eventually start taking themselves really seriously. The kid who wrote in threatening to beat me up with his imaginary cartoon powers last week sounded like he had a little clique of friends, who probably all buy into his bullshit and have convinced themselves that they, too, have magic inner spirit animals that give them special abilities. They probably also draw anime-style fanart of themselves. There are a LOT of little cliques like this out there; they are all over the internet and infest high schools everywhere.

Kids like that aren't even really the worst of it, either; they're sort of the 'larvae stage' of an even creepier community, the "Otakukin". There's a small chance you've heard of "otherkin", people who believe they're actually dragons or foxes or faeries or whatever trapped in human bodies. Those people are bad enough, but Otakukin take it one step further - they believe they are the reincarnation of an anime character.

No, I'm not kidding. Yes, there are people who actually subscribe to this. Yes, they are completely bonkers.

The basic concept is this: someone goes on to the Otakukin message board - wherever it may exist, there are a few of 'em out there - and claims that they think they may have been Kagome or Goku or Duo Maxwell in a past life. How can they prove it? Well, they claim that when they were watching the anime series, they had specific memories of having lived those events, and sometimes the anime series gets it "wrong". That's right, someone will claim to be Inuyasha and then say that in episode #82, the events were "wrong", it actually happened "like this", and they know that because in a past life or a parallel dimension or something they actually were Inuyasha so they know better.

Here's a choice quote from the Livejournal Otakukin community to give you an example of how these people talk to each other:

:Samurai X: The Motion Picture, on the other hand, was offensive to me. So poorly put together and so utterly pessimistic, it wasn't anything like me, especially at that time in my soul progression."

Obviously this person believes he or she is Rurouni Kenshin. See what I mean? Here's another couple of gems:

"Also, the recent anime portrayals of me in the filler arc of Naruto were so... Hollow. Almost kinda soulless and cheap. I'm definitely manga canon."

"I've had this sort of thing happen with soul bonds, and bonds that I've known on other's systems, even they way the 'oringal' artist designed the charatcers, I've been told they was slight off."

This person uses the word "original" in quotes, because Otakukin believe that the person who actually created the manga was simply "tapping in" to the alternate reality in which the anime character actually existed, and therefore is doing no more than recording a fictionalized version of real events. This gives them room to "disagree" or act violated somehow when they watch anime and decide they want to take issue with some scene.

Is your head exploding yet? I don't really need to harp on and on about how utterly ridiculous this stuff is, because it really does speak for itself, but it just goes to show you that even when something is so ridiculous and out there it seems like it has to be a joke, there are doubtless hundreds who take it gravely seriously. Take a cruise around the Otakukin sites (or read today's Flake of the Week), though; it will give you the very unique sensation of feeling really good about yourself as a person while simultaneously laughing and sobbing.
Here's his 'Flake of the Week' from the same article:
Why are there always more of them?

Dear Mr. Bertschy,

My name is Luna Starbright and I am imploring you to apologize to the young man who wrote you last week about his abilities. While this may surprise and even shock you, there are many of us in this world who have the same kind of powers you see in anime shows. That young man obviously has the same powers as Naruto does, while I myself believe that I have the same abilities as Sailor Moon (transformation, etc). Now you may call us crazy, but it is the truth (as the young man said, we can prove it), and one day you may be enlightened. If not that is sad, but persecuting our kind is not the answer. I would ask you to look upon the lessons taught us by the defeat of the Nazis before continuing to rail against our kind. It is a form of racism.

For the time being I ask that you publically apologize to the entire 'kin community. We are people who deserve respect, and our feelings should be considered.

Sincerely and with great hope that you make the right decision,
Luna Wishcatcher Starbright

How's this for my public apology: your name sounds like a My Little Pony and your letter makes me want to wretch. "Racism"? Give me a break. The notion that a bunch of idiot kids who watch too many cartoons compare being made fun of (and rightfully so) on the internet to legitimate real-world discrimination issues makes me so very, very sad. All you're doing is trivializing real racism. You're a moron with no perspective on the real world.

Are we done here? I'm going to stop printing letters from you lunatics. I'm only giving you the attention you so crave.
With that out of the way, I have to deal with pretending to respect certain individuals on certain RPG devoted websites because they think that they're anthropomorphic animals, and if I don't, I'm some sort of fascist bigot. It's little wonder why my sanity is waning, and this is just a deeper examination of my earlier comments on fandom. Is it too much to ask to ask that I find people that are, at most, as screwed up as I am in fandom circles? (Mind you, after asking that, I'll see the hands of people saying that they aren't screwed up, and then turn around and say or do something that shows that they're worse off than me.)

Of course, I'm reminded of this little tidbit from DF1.0:
Lay Off the Furries, OK? No. No, I won't. Until furries begin to realize that it's not healthy, and I'm talking about real furries here, not fans of anthropomorphic art. If your sexual identity involves viewing yourself, and your (potential) partner, through a lens of animal anthropomorphism, then you have a problem... and don't you dare play the queer card, as you're talking out your ass at that point.

It has nothing to do with liking drawings of 'sexy animal people'. It has everything to do with being aroused by drawings of 'sexy animal people'. Me? I dig the comic Usagi Yojimbo, the various incarnations Masamune Shirow's Dominion, and the anime series Hyper Police. I even own products based on them, and all feature anthropomorphic animals as the either the main, or at least major, characters. For some, that would make me a furry, but I'm not. Sure, I've got my kinks, like everyone else, but none of them involve the thought "she'd look hot with cat ears and a tail."(*)

I find the whole "but it's not beastiality" line of thought funny, as well, it is a sort of beastiality. If your sexual identity is best described through an animal analogue, then yeah, it's beastiality. Beastiality in denial, but it's still beastiality. Now, at this point, you could argue about people who get off on the transgendered, but the last time I checked (well, I really haven't checked, but you get my point) they were still humans. Having gender issues is common with all species, especially primates, but having species issues isn't.

Now, if anthropomorphic fandom is your cup of tea, then the more power to you. If you think that anthro cosplay is fun, again, more power to you. If you get off on it, and not in a 'naughty school girl meets the French maid' way, then you have serious issues that need to be examined. It's not remotely normal or healthy. If it were, you'd have a Fur Pride Day.

(Whoa, did I just had a brain fart. I just imagined what a Fur Pride Day parade would look like. Imagine the Disney Main Street parade, but in lingerie. Curse my active imagination with it's ability to quickly and effectively produce disturbing imagery.)

I think I'm going to stop now.

Update: It looks like I'm not alone. Although I'm not really an anthropomorphic fan, this site is by those fans who speak out against furries.
And if you're going to comment on this one, don't bother. I've heard it all, and really, I don't need to hear any more. Paint me a bigot, fine. Just go away.

(*) Okay, Rachel Leigh Cook and Rosario Dawson in Josie and the Pussycats aside.

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